This Week's Cause of the Week! Edmund Rice Development
This Week’s Cause of the week is the Edmund Rice Development!
Edmund Rice Development raises funds for children and young people who are marginalised because of poverty, lack of access to education, legal status, environmental degradation, or involvement in armed conflict and other worthy causes in Africa.
They work on a number of projects in Africa and are doing some truly amazing things!
How did the whole idea come about?
A group of past pupils from a school in Liberia called the Torchbearer’s were looking to raise $5,000 through an event in Liberia. We felt really strongly that if they could pledge to raise $5,000 we could match that pledge to show support.
Since that’s just under $5 a week for each scholarship (or about €3.40) we realized, we wouldn’t think twice about treating a friend to a coffee or cappuccino which would cost about the same. Then the thinking became: we could certainly extend that generous spirit to 20 or so kids in Liberia! That’s how the idea for the Cappuccino Project was born.
Since Edmund Rice Development is quite new to social media we thought it would be a great project to galvanize our new online networks around and see if we could get more people involved and engaged with our work.
Why is this cause close to your heart? Why should other support it?
We were so inspired by the fact that this group of alumni had come together to support other Liberian children in the same way that they were supported.
The group already give a scholarship to 6 kids at the school and wanted to increase their efforts to give 20 kids that chance. It seemed like such a simple thing to do. If they could crank up their support, we felt we should be able to do the same through our network. So it was almost as much to show them that they had support in their efforts, to let them know they weren’t on their own in their aspirations, as it was to support the kids themselves.
Do you have any other events or fundraisers that you would like others to know about?
We’re hoping to have online events every month or so going forward – some around engagement and info about the issues and projects we work on, and others as fundraisers. Our website www.edmundricedevelopment.org will give you all the info you need on the different projects we work on and our Facebook page and Twitter feed will carry the bulk of our social media messages. We have photos and videos up on FlickR and YouTube respectively as well. We’ve also just launched our new promo, which will be live on the site next week but can be seen on our Facebook page and YouTube channel right now.
What advice would you give to others that might like to take on such an amazing endeavor?
Just do it! Everyone can make a difference, and social media really enables both non-profits and individuals who want to get support for their cause to communicate with a larger audience, which just wasn’t possible before. It doesn’t have to cost anything, just time. All those social media platforms are there to be utilized and can really make a difference to your cause. Trust your fans and networks to help as well – if you give them something compelling, they’ll share it.
How has social media helped your organization?
Greatly! So far we have a Facebook page with 150 followers, a YouTube channel, a FlickR page and Twitter feed with over 290 followers: all of which have helped raise awareness, drive significantly higher traffic to our web site and of course raise much needed funds for The Cappuccino Project and other Edmund Rice Development initiatives. But the real difference it has made is the ability it has given us to speak to a wider and more diverse audience who may not have come across our work otherwise. Being added as “Cause of the Week” will be another major breakthrough for us!
What do you have planned for the future of Edmund Rice Development?
Well, online we’re going to continue to build and invest time in our online community, growing our followers, and keeping donors informed of our efforts. We of course want to increase awareness of the Edmund Rice Development brand while hopefully driving traffic to our site and ultimately increasing donations. 100% of the donations we receive from the public go directly to our projects.
But our plans for the future “off line” will be to continue to support the vital work of the Brothers in Africa, who have committed themselves to working with communities for the long term. We want to fund and support as many projects as communities determine are crucial – whether that be schools, health programs, community and rural development initiatives or water and sanitation projects.